Here’s an interesting topic for y’all to learn more about.
So apparently there are times when a PAP comes back saying that endometrial cells were detected. What the hell are those?
Let’s look at this handy diagram, below. Note the Cervix, where the cells were scraped for the PAP. Now note where the Endometrium is located. It’s actually the lining of the Uterus. That’s a lot higher up, see? So apparently if you were menstruating recently, it makes sense that cells from upward came down toward the Cervix while you were bleeding (when the Uterus realizes you’re not pregnant and decides it’s time to shed all that blood and lining [one layer of the endometrium sloughs while the basal layer stays put] and start over again, preparing for a new egg). But for post-menopausal women, you’ll want to get more information from your doctor if endometrial cells were detected.
There has been a lot of research on this topic. My un-educated take, and what my doctor told me, is that in reproductive-age women who find endometrial cells down at the Cervix, it’s likely benign. Studies seem to indicate that the times when this finding is NOT benign highly correlate with an important, additional symptom: Irregular or abnormal bleeding. Here’s an article that discusses it pretty clearly: http://www.aafp.org/afp/1999/0115/p440.html
Of course, what is considered irregular or abnormal bleeding? Does it mean bleeding between periods? Does it mean that the length of time between periods is different? Does it mean the amount of blood per period is different? Does it mean the length of the bleeding is different? There is a very large amount of possibilities here.
Wow. Here is a page that discusses all possible abnormalities and more information about them. It’s too lengthy for me to quote: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/healthy_living/hic_Coping_with_Families_and_Careers/hic_Normal_Menstruation/hic-abnormal-menstruation
- If you are post-menapausal and have endometrial cells at your cervix, talk with your doctor!
- If you are of child-bearing age and find endometrial cells at your cervix AND have irregular or abnormal bleeding, talk with your doctor!